A Call for Beta Readers for The Scarred Princess

Time to add something else to the growing list of new things I’m doing this year. I’ve asked publicly for beta readers before, but it was always either in relevant Facebook groups I was a part of or generally on my Facebook page, not here on this site. However, there are hopefully people that read my posts here that aren’t connected with me over there, so this makes sense to do. Also, I hopefully have at least some people who’ve bought and read my debut novel, A Greater Duty, and might be interested at taking a crack at a not-yet-released book of mine.

First, a couple brief criteria for what exactly I need here.

  1. I don’t need a whole lot of readers; 5 is probably the upper limit, as beyond that feedback gets very muddled, and less helpful.
  2. I would ask that people who agree to beta read commit to reading the book and getting feedback over to me within a period of 3-4 weeks. The book is on the longer side (about 146,000 words), but not overly so, but I have another book I’m also hoping to get not just beta read, but also fully edited, by October latest (as I expect my available time to to write & edit will drastically drop in November for about a year and a half, as that’s when I’m hoping to start my military service over here in Israel.) As some of you might’ve seen in one of my recent posts, I hope to release the sequel to A Greater Duty in October, with another, already edited book, The Dragon Hand, to follow in summer 2018, and this one to follow about nine months later, in late winter/early spring 2019. It’s just that all the writing & editing needs to be done by the end of October, hence the haste.
  3. I need honest opinions from my beta readers, who should approach the book as they would any other they might’ve picked up at a bookstore (or, more likely, on Amazon.) I may well make a couple of notes, or mention things that I would like particular attention paid to, to be sure they work, but otherwise I just want to know what you thought of it, what worked, what didn’t, etc.

All that said, on to share a bit about the book at hand, currently going by the title          The Scarred Princess (it is subject to change, but as of now nothing better has come to mind.)

The book is a standalone* epic fantasy, with a very narrow, character-based focus. Now, I should probably explain that asterisk before going on. The Scarred Princess is indeed a standalone book, in that you don’t have to have ready anything else to understand what’s going on, and I believe that this is a self-contained story that doesn’t require further reading. However. It does take place on the same world as The Dragon Hand, in between books 1 & 2 of that series, and there is one side character that appears in both. Plus, other characters from here may appear in later books of that series. (Yes, I know I think very big with my connected worlds, etc. I can’t help it.)

In many ways, this book is unique for me, and was an attempt by me to “step out of my comfort zone,” having already written A Greater Duty and The Dragon Hand before it. This is so far the only book I’ve written without having a full outline and a lot of worldbuilding done in advance (I actually got the idea spark from a picture, and the story just grew from there. I even trunked a book I was already working on–which I’ll get back to one day– to start work on this.) The Scarred Princess, unlike my other written books, is much more of a character study, and deliberately only has one viewpoint character throughout, plus a small cast. It also took me out of my personal comfort zone in regard to the types of stories I’m ok writing, and this book has probably the darkest, disturbing moments I’ve ever written –though that is far from what it is in its entirety. In regard to the relationships of some of the main characters, I went to a place I hadn’t ever consciously intended to go, but for this it just worked, I think, and I hope that my readers will agree.

For a more traditional look at the book:

Princess Kaleris has, for years, wanted nothing more than an adventure, anything to escape the tedium of being prepared for ruling while simultaneously being very tightly controlled by her caretakers. When she finally gets the adventure she dreamed about, it quickly becomes a nightmare as she is kidnapped, replaced with a doppelganger, imprisoned and tortured for information by a sadistic tormentor wants to break her will almost more than he actually wants information. Kaleris manages to escape, but the trauma she endured remains with her, haunting her, as she struggles to survive and stay ahead of her enemies. Eventually, with the support of a few trusted friends, Kaleris begins to slowly recover, but then faces another choice: Will she continue to run from enemies who can fill her with fear just by thinking of them, or will she stay and fight to free her people from a malevolent force hell-bent on their domination?

The Scarred Princess, at its core, is a blend of a coming-of-age tale and that of a damaged person struggling to overcome a major trauma that could very easily send her into a downward spiral from which she might never recover. I originally thought of this concept after wondering why we don’t see more characters in fiction who suffered from PTSD after going through harrowing events, but it has taken on more meaning to me now that I live in a country where far too many people, young people, suffer from trauma caused by terror attacks, and writing this allowed me to get into the mind of someone suffering from a major trauma, and see how she dealt with it.

Well, that was certainly a heavy note to leave this on. If this interests you at all, and you can commit to reading it and getting feedback to me within the timeframe I require, please let me know, either here, on Twitter, or by email at yakov.merkin@gmail.com–it will be on a first-come, first serve basis. As I mentioned above, I hope to complete my last solo revisions within a week.

I hope to hear from some of you soon, and in case I don’t get another post up sooner, I’d like to wish all my American friends and readers a wonderful Fourth of July!

8 thoughts on “A Call for Beta Readers for The Scarred Princess

  1. Hi, does your book have graphic sexual torture.. And how many pages would your book come up to.. Easier for me to calculate how to divide my time

    • The torture gets perhaps a little bit graphic (but not gory), and is not sexual in nature (there may be one or two threats made that some readers might see as threatening that, but it does not happen). If I were to give the book a rating, it’d be a hard PG-13. Also, the torture scenes only take up a chapter or two. The book is 511 double space pages. Thanks for your interest!

    • Actually, after thinking it over, the overall rating might be more of a soft R, after factoring in the various events of the book and the protagonist’s psychological struggles. But the (limited) torture scenes are as I said before. Just wanted to be sure I was as accurate as possible in giving you info on the book.

      • Then, since you don’t know me, can you send me the first chapter, I will give my views on that to know if we fit.. Just a thought.
        I do read fantasy where the main character has to be absolute kickass. No whiny babes.. So let me know

      • Sure, I can do that. As soon as I finish my final solo edits I can send it. I think my character gets to that point, but not without a lot of struggle and hard work. 🙂

        I imagine I should send it to the email address listed by your profile? Also, would you prefer it as a Word document or a PDF?

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